Promising eight-year-old poet wins poetry competition

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An eight year old girl has won an under 18s award for poetry from the D.H Lawrence Heritage Centre as part of their annual festival.

Maya Cawdell from Chilwell entered the competition after her dad, Mark, saw it advertised on Broxtowe’s council website.

For the competition, funded by the University of Nottingham, entrants were able to choose from two themes inspired by Lawrence’s writing so Maya entered a poem entitled ‘Whilst the teacher’s back was turned’.

However, she was shocked to have won at such a young age, and was presented with the first prize - a Kindle Fire - at the awards ceremony on September 4.

She told the Advertiser: “I was really astonished when I found out I had won and I didn’t think it was real.

“I had to read the email they had sent to my mum three times before I believed it,”

Maya explained that the stories and poems she writes are based on her own experiences, including this one.

“It was from when I was at school and the teacher went out the classroom.

“All the others in the class took the opportunity to go wild but when the teacher came back in they acted innocent.”

Maya added that she has already downloaded some books on her Kindle including the Wizard of Oz and Wind in the Willows.

Maya’s mum Anjana said that they were surprised to hear Maya had been shortlisted for a competition where she was up against much older children, and couldn’t believe it when she was awarded first prize.

She added: “Maya has loved to write since she was very young and this is a good confidence boost for her.

“We are so pleased that she has taken such an interest in literature.”

Maya’s grandma Janet who lives in Cambridge was unable to make the prizegiving, but was thrilled to hear that her granddaughter had won.

She said: “I am so very proud of her - it is quite an achievement.”

In the judges comments they said: “In the event we unanimously selected a winner.

This poem had impact and entertainment in abundance. It had humour, and the power to please, and we felt that its beauty was in its startling simplicity.

Education was evident in its innocent clarity. There was a transparent message here, with no unnecessary words.”

The D.H Lawrence Society hope to run a similar event next year.

Maya’s first prize poem:

Whilst the teacher was looking at you,

Asking what was 2+2,

The classroom was a happy place,

Filled with the human race,

But when the teachers back was turned,

The feeling of war returned.

Sam hit Sarah,

Sarah hit Sam,

Bob bit Ollie,

Ollie bit Pam,

Tom kicked Jane,

Jane kicked Emma,

Emma punched Dan,

Dan punched Jemma,

But when the teacher turned around,

nobody made even a sound.